Situated northwest of North America, Alaska is separated to the coterminous 48 states by the Canadian territory. Alaska is the largest among the 50 states with a total of 1,530,699 sq km (591, 004 sq mi) land area. The total land mass takes up about 1,478,456 sq km (570,833 sq mi) and the inland water takes up 52,243 sq km (20,171 sq mi). Alaska occupies about 16% of total land area of the US.
Alaska has plenty of offshore islands including St. Matthew, St. Lawrence, the Pribilof group of islands, and Nunivak, the Aleutian Islands in the Pacific, the Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska and the 1, 100 islands that constitute the Alexander Archipelago. Alaska’s total boundary length is 13, 176 Km (8, 187 mi), including the 10,686 km (6, 640 mi) general coastline and the 54, 563 km (33,904 mi) of tidal coastline.
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Before Alaska has been occupied by human civilizations, it was home to bison and mammoths. The plains of Alaska were rich in frigid temperature. The history of Alaska began approx. 20, 000 years ago, when humans followed the herds of bison through the Bering Land Bridge, from the northwestern Alaska, which is now Russia.
During the ice age, the sea level was about 400 feet lower than today. The massive glaciers sucked the ocean water that covered the large land area. The sea level dropped as the ocean water was frozen and exposed the flat plain between North America and Asia. The humans that rely on bison for food followed these creatures as it crossed the Bering Land Bridge.
In the next millennia, the glaciers and ice sheets melted and the plain flooded. The Bering Land Bridge had been cut. Before the land bridge submerged, around 60 to 80 thousand people have already migrated to what is now Alaska. Many of the indigenous people and tribes that traveled the land bridge are still in Alaska, including Aleuts, Tlingit’s, Haidas, Athabascans and Eskimos.
The European Influence
In 1700s, European adventurers voyaged to Alaska. In 1784, white settlement began in Kodial at Three Saints Bay. In the next 50 years, increasing immigration of people from Europe to Alaska has been observed and the fur trade became Alaska’s major industry. With the influx of large population and new culture, conflicts came up between the European fur traders and Native Alaskans. A number of battles have occurred and Alaska’s population was divided in two groups.
Later in 1857 and 1861, gold and oil were found in Alaska. Six years after the discovery of gold in the land, Alaska was purchased by the United States of America from Russia. This purchase has resulted in turmoil and changes in the regulations in seal hunting. But, these new regulations in seal hunting have been ignored and the population of seals decreased. When the fur seal trade started to diminished, Alaskan gold rush has made a better appeal of better riches.
Railroads and Telegraphs
The discovery of gold and the increasing population of gold seekers cluttered Alaska. The Unites States Government has recognized the need for a better means of communication and transportation. In 1865, plans for telegraph between Siberia and Alaska began. In 1898, telegraph lines have been extended to Sitka, Alaska from Seattle, Washington. In the same year, the plans for White Pass and Yukon railroad began. After two years, the railroad was completed. In 1959, statehood has been granted to Alaska and it became a popular center for trade and tourism. Visit Alaska and enjoy a tour around the state. Discover the culture and rich history that Alaska has to offer.
In 1959, the official state flag of Alaska was officially adopted. The golden star in the flag represents the Big Dipper and the North Star, also known as Polaris that represents the northern location of Alaska. The official state flag of Alaska was chosen from a flag designing contest. The flag was designed by a 13-year old boy, Bennie Benson, a Native American.
Alaska Culture, People, and Places
Alaska’s culture and history has appealed to many people who want to discover the incredible state. Alaska is divided in five different regions – the Anchorage area, the Interior, the Inside Passage, Western Alaska and Northern Alaska. Each region has its unique climate, unique people and unique way of life. Wherever you go in Alaska, you’re sure to be welcomed by the state’s friendly faces.
The culture of Alaska has been shaped by its history and the life of people who arrived in the land seeking fortune, gold, timber and fur. Even these days, the refection of the lives of the indigenous people can be seen in exciting festivals held each year throughout the state.
Things to See and Do
Alaska offers a diverse range of parks, urban cities and places to visit. An Alaskan tour is an exciting way to discover an experience the wildlife and scenery of the state. Visit Alaska and experience the cultural events held in the entire year.
The glaciers are one of the most popular natural wonders of Alaska. The glaciers are enormous icy testaments that serve as the power of Alaska and habitat for a diverse range of wildlife including sea lions, seals, whales and puffins. Getting close to these glaciers by boat or by plane is the best way to see them. Anyone who has taken a look to these beautiful glaciers will tell you that it’s a lifetime experience that you should not miss.
National Parks and Preserves
Alaska has more than 15 national preserves and parks. These parks and preserves are dedicated to the conservation of the wilderness of the state. Anyone who wishes to experience the unspoiled wilderness of Alaska can take an inspiring excursion. Alaska tours are not complete without doing rafting, hiking, fishing and parks camping. The Denali National Park and Preserve has five distinct sightings of moose, bears, wolves, gray and caribou. Also, the Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve is the best place to see rare volcanic formations.